Payroll Vault Franchise Owner Cathy Carroll Loves Being Her Own Boss

While some people have always dreamed of owning a business of their own, many others never considered the entrepreneurial life until it came calling. That’s precisely what happened to Cathy Carroll one day when she received an inquiry on LinkedIn from a franchise consultant. After looking at several concepts, she decided on Payroll Vault and opened a location in her hometown of Havertown, Pennsylvania, in Oct. 2019. But less than six months later, the pandemic hit, forcing franchisees to transition their outreach to the virtual world. To Cathy’s surprise, it still worked, and by the time restrictions were lifted, her Payroll Vault franchise began a period of sustained growth that continues to this day. As for others looking to franchise their way to business ownership, Cathy advises to pay close attention to the details in the franchise disclosure document (FDD) and not be afraid to ask the tough questions with existing franchisees. Like many before her, she’s learned that the more effort you put into building your business, the more you’ll get out of it when it comes to your success.

Why did you purchase a Payroll Vault franchise rather than start an independent business?

payroll vault franchise owners cathy and ed carrollMy husband, Ed, and I never considered buying a franchise until franchise consultant Janice Charles contacted me via LinkedIn. Six weeks later, we purchased a Payroll Vault franchise. We knew we wanted to be our own boss and build something for our future together. We decided to buy a franchise because it provides proven systems and the foundations of a successful business model.

Were you focused on a specific industry or brand from the start?

After exploring the different types of franchises with a franchise consultant, we decided that a business-to-business (B2B) franchise was the best fit for us. The Payroll Vault franchise opportunity was attractive because it generates recurring revenue and features a recession-resistant business model.

Which of your prior skills and experiences were most helpful in launching your business?

Of all our prior skills and experience, we found it important to keep organized and efficiently manage our time. So many tasks need to be completed, but the most important factor in launching our business was networking and getting the Payroll Vault name out into our community.

When researching franchises to buy, what criteria mattered to you most?

The information in the franchise disclosure document (FDD) was very helpful. It gave us the full history of the company and plenty of insight into how the existing franchisees have been performing. We also enjoyed our visit during the discovery day, as we got an up-close and personal look at Payroll Vault’s core values as a company. We quickly felt comfortable knowing that they also shared our values—especially in how they deal with internal and external customers. 

Did you speak with other franchisees? Which questions did you ask?

Yes, absolutely. I think the most important question we asked the existing franchisees in the system was, ‘What is the secret behind your success as a franchise owner?’ We discovered that everyone brings a unique set of skills to the table. How you utilize those skills to make your franchise successful is what makes the difference.

Which questions did you ask Payroll Vault franchise leadership?

As we investigated other franchises, we asked about the costs involved in getting started and the potential return on investment. We talked about staffing and the required space. We also asked their opinion of what makes their highest-performing franchisees successful.

What were your biggest challenges when you first started out, and how did you overcome them?

We purchased our franchise in Oct. 2019, and five months later, the world shut down because of the pandemic. We were especially hard hit here in Pennsylvania, where we experienced some of the tightest restrictions in the country. To solve this problem, we migrated everything to the virtual world. The networking opportunities on Zoom allowed us to meet hundreds of people and continue spreading awareness about the Payroll Vault brand.

How does the Payroll Vault franchise system support and encourage your success?

During the pandemic, the franchise headquarters did an amazing job of disseminating information about the government programs created to support small businesses. We used that information to engage prospects and build awareness in our home community. Payroll Vault’s brand culture consistently conveys a strong sense of value and respect for its franchisee network. Our success is clearly supported and encouraged through monthly owner calls, annual conferences, and weekly marketing and operational support calls.

What are you most proud of as Payroll Vault franchise owners, and why?

We took full advantage of the virtual networking groups during the pandemic and used the opportunity to build our brand awareness. Once the restrictions were lifted, approximately two years after we purchased the franchise, we developed a strong base of businesses who knew, liked, and trusted us. This gave us the springboard we needed to scale and grow our business at a steady pace, which continues to this day.

What advice would you give to new or potential franchise buyers?

Having your operational base in place as you open your franchise is important. But it’s also just as important to network and meet new people! Keeping a consistent presence is important once you find groups that could benefit from your services. Building that rapport takes time, but it is well worth the effort. Remember, the more effort you put into building your business, the quicker your business will grow.

For more information on the Payroll Vault franchise opportunity, visit, email [email protected], or call 303-763-1829

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